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US warms up to Sri Lanka, says will assist new govt

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

The US today said it is ready to assist the new Sri Lankan government in addressing human rights issues and good governance, in an effort to normalise ties after America sponsored resolutions against the country over alleged rights abuses during the war against the LTTE.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal, who arrived here on a two-day visit.

Samaraweera will visit Washington next week to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Biswal told reporters after the meeting that Kerry is looking forward to his meeting with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister and that the US is ready to assist Sri Lanka in addressing human rights issues and good governance.

Sri Lanka can count on us to be a partner to go forward, she said.

Samaraweera said the government is keen to work more closely with the US on various issues.

Biswal, the first top US official to visit Colombo after the Sirisena government came to power following the January 8 presidential elections, said her visit was aimed at establishing ties with the new government.

Sri Lanka-US relations had soured under the regime of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The US moved three UN Human Rights Council resolutions against Sri Lanka since 2012.

Last year's resolution triggered an international probe into alleged human rights abuses blamed both on the government troops and the LTTE.

The new government has also vowed to continue with the policy of non-cooperation with the UNHRC investigation adopted by the Rajapaksa regime.

Rajapaksa charged that the US was in the forefront of an international campaign to oust him.

First Published: Mon, February 02 2015. 15:55 IST